There was a three-way battle all the way to the final minutes of the Hempton cyclo-cross promoted by the Fakenham-based East Coast Riders. Hungarian Gabor Doroghazi finally broke the deadlock with a successful attack on a wooded rise and took the win by five seconds from Steven Hassall and Ben Lewis.

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Conditions were near-perfect in the old sandpit at Hempton. Spectators could feel the warmth of the sun and bikes were still clean at the finish. Back after an absence last year was the road section which had its own challenges – the U-turn was at the downhill, downwind end and several arrived unrealistically fast, while the return climb tested the legs of everyone.

Top Norfolk finisher in the senior race was Ian Newby (Diss CC) who beavered away quietly to take fifth overall and win the Elite Veteran class. Finishing just 21 seconds behind Newby, John Swindells (Great Yarmouth CC) took a big step up to third overall in the Eastern League. Swindells outsprinted Hayden Wood for sixth spot having caught Wood, the league leader, who had been briefly delayed by a mechanical hitch.

Tim Guy was best Iceni Velo senior in 11th place while Barney Horns (21st) was best from the Norwich ABC and John Ozeric (23rd) top East Coast Rider. Tom Doe who had spent the morning on the VC Norwich clubrun, still found the strength to finish ahead of over a dozen seniors.

Richard Muchmore, winner of the veterans race, thought the headwind road climb was the hardest bit of the course – though he has the skills to take the off-road challenges in his stride.

It was in the races for younger riders that Iceni Velo riders starred – Dougal Toms taking the Youth (12-16) race and Josun Cole the Under 12s. Cole has been a regular at Lotus and Airport coaching sessions but was riding his first Eastern League cyclo-cross.

At the informal prize presentation of VC Baracchi Sally Withey of VC Norwich was Guest of Honour and also winner of the Jane Travers Memorial Trophy that she won in the Lowestoft club’s May “10”. Multiple prize-winners included Mark Newnham, Chris Womack and Jennie Anderson, while members voted Mike Rainton Rider of the Year for his long distance riding, including 324 miles in the Mersey 24 Hours and no less than six rides from Lands End to John ‘O Groats in aid of the Bishop Simeon Trust.

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